Today we are going to talk about true discipleship in the beginnings of a series on discipleship. We could be like the norm and start with the evident scriptures pertaining to being one of Yeshua’s taught ones but that seems a bit too normal for us here at Fellowship of Yah. Coming off one of the most dreadful times of the year, I believe we all need a little pick me up with a good dose of direction as we work through the darkest time of the year.
We are going to look at one of the most overlooked qualities that is required to be displayed by those who proclaim that they are on this walk. This quality is the ability of edifying the body of Messiah, not just by doing feel good statements toward each other but by also bringing the blessing of teaching and correction as well. Edification can be had in multiple ways. A simple pat on the back helps but when we don’t bless with learning and correction, we can allow our brethren to stumble. A that-a-boy may seem nice, however, if all we focus on is the good that one accomplishes, how can one get better in this walk of following Messiah? We will discuss this in detail today and we will begin by understanding what edification is.
Edification – Dictionary.com
*The instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually.
Synonyms: education, instruction, tuition, teaching, training, tutelage, guidance
Edification – Strong’s Concordance 3619
*oikodomé: (the act of) building, a building
Original Word: οἰκοδομή, ῆς, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (oy-kod-om-ay’)
Definition: (the act of) building, a building
Usage: (a) the act of building, (b) a building, (c) met: spiritual advancement, edification.
I have heard many believers and teachers state that the edification of the body is about making each other feel good, but from its definition and from the Strong’s, it’s more like it should be about teaching rather than that of a pat on the back. Notice the definition in the Strong’s uses the terminology act of building, building. When we build a house, we have a foundation, walls, studs, electrical, plumbing, ceiling, rafters, roof, shingles and temperature control modules. When a person is built by the Father, it has a foundation, the DNA code. Walls or our skin. Studs, our bones. Electrical, our nervous system. Plumbing, we all know what that is. So forth and so on. All of this said, the way we build houses isn’t so far off from the way we were built except two things, a brain and a heart both of which require discipline and education. Let’s look at a scripture for a moment.
1 Corinthians 14:26
26 What then is it, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all be done for upbuilding.
The term upbuilding is related to throughout most texts as the word edification in the form that we just went over in the Strong’s. This means that Paul is telling the Corinthians that these things you know is needing to be used as a tool for teaching, not a sign or an ear tickle. For teaching, let’s look at another scripture.
32 “And now, brothers, I commit you to Elohim and to the word of His favour, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those having been set apart.
The word build in this verse is epokodomeo g2026 which means to build upon a foundation and is from the root word oikodomeo 3618 which means to build a house, erect a building, the building up of character, edify, encourage. So, when we are reading about this word that has been misused amongst many different denominations and congregations, it is not at all about making one feel good but rather to that feeling of growing and learning from and about the Word. The best part about these things is that Paul backs this up in Romans 15.
4 For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have the expectation.
Paul, in all his wisdom and knowledge, again reminds us that the Torah was written for our instruction or for our edification so that we can endure. We need to learn how to do what we are being shown by our brethren. Also, to take the lessons we have learned from the Word and look at them with our spiritual eyes, not with the eyes that the world or even some of our brethren has seen through but with the eyes that the Father gives us through the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit. If you note that one thing that is utilized is the actions being displayed in Corinthians is that when the people congregate, it is the actions being displayed that are used for correction. What you don’t see in Scripture is the, “I’m right” attitude that is displayed amongst many Torah keeping groups and Hebrew Root congregations. Paul clearly rebukes this attitude in scripture which we will cover momentarily. The biggest key to edification isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about the Word is right and we are all wrong by following our own thoughts. For example, Acts 10 food debate vs the Romans 14 food argument. So, the church uses this to make all food clean. The Torah keeping movement says it is out of context but what does the Word say? We aren’t going to answer this question today but what I will do is tell you that edification isn’t about debate. Iron sharpening iron isn’t about arguing biblical understanding. What edification is about is learning from the Word. Iron sharpening iron is about working together to learn from the Word. No where in Scripture does it defend the unbiblical attack against brethren for doctrinal debates. In fact, it teaches against it. How is the Word supposed to be used for edification?
Before we answer this question, let’s go back to this biblical attack. Being on Facebook and other social websites or even in a public forum at a church or in a personal setting. We should not utilize edification inappropriately. What I mean by this, is using superior intellect to puff yourself up into a demoralizing and condemning person that puts oneself in a superior position. We are never told in the Word to act in this manner. Contrary to your puffed-up attitude, we are to meet our brethren lovingly and utilize scripture to show our brethren the truth. If it is not accepted, we should not degrade or condemn, we should let it go and let the Ruach water the seed that you have planted so the wisdom and knowledge will have time to grow in that person. Let’s look at a scripture to back this up and then answer the question on how the Word is supposed to be used.
1 Corinthians 4:6
6 And these matters, brothers, I have applied in a figure to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you might learn not to think beyond what is written, so that none of you be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
How puffed-up do you think one is when they state that they know the Father’s name when the Word, Yeshua, tells us we should call Him Father? Or if we say all foods are clean but the Word says that there are specific foods that are unclean? Or we say it’s okay to celebrate pagan holidays and the Word says not to honor the Father like the pagans honored their gods? This is what puffed-up churches have done and that is they learned to think beyond what is written. Torah observers have puffed themselves up saying that they know secret ideologies that are hidden in the Word such as code or His name, once again, going beyond that which is written something we are warned about. If we go against this warning in the Word, we can cause ourselves to degrade, demean, demoralize and condemn our brethren all the while our Father in heaven is upset because someone so smart is damaging a brother or sister in Messiah. So now we need to see how the Word is used for edification.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.
In this book of Timothy, we are being shown the answer to this question. Scripture is for teaching, reproof, setting straight, instruction in righteousness so that our brethren can be equipped for every good work. No where does it say here that we should argue scripture. Also, nowhere does it say that we can say that Scripture doesn’t mean that to me. For example, when the Word says if you hate your brother, you commit murder. You tell this to a person that is having difficulty not hating an in-law, so you use this verse to try and convince them to find forgiveness. However, this person may say that to them it means that if you hate someone so much you wish they were dead than I would commit murder, but I hate many people but don’t wish they were dead. I don’t wish my in-law was dead, I just hate them. It doesn’t mean I can’t hate anyone. So now we have a person that understands what the Word is saying but contorts and twists it to fit their own agenda to find justification for their feelings towards their in-laws. This is an incorrect way of utilizing scripture, but it leads to the next question which is, “What about differences in interpretation?”
When it comes to interpretation, we need to understand the purpose behind the interpreter’s thoughts. For example, back to the food issue, for the church, it is to make all food clean for consumption thus taking away discipline and allowing people to indulge in their own appetites. Whereas for Torah Keepers, they want to stay right, keep the temple clean/our bodies and try their best to stay right with the Father and stay set apart. When you look at these two arguments, which one makes you more set apart and more obedient? Which one makes you humble, disciplined and sacrificial? Obviously, the Torah Keepers thoughts are, and the church removes discipline and obedience and interprets the passages to remove all accountability for the temple/our bodies as being open for any food. There is a definite difference between Torah observers and church goers. The big thing is this, what good is it to call yourself a follower of Messiah or Christ if the only change in your life is only the changes you permit and not that of what the Father has ordained for you as a follower of His son?
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17 Now יהוה is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of יהוה is, there is freedom.
18 And we all, as with unveiled face we see as in a mirror the esteem of יהוה, are being transformed into the same likeness from esteem to esteem, as from יהוה, the Spirit.
Through our ability to change by the edification of our brethren through the instructions in Scripture, we find freedom in the Father, the Spirit according to the words of Paul in this verse. Change leads to transformation and this transformation is not outwardly or even on display through our words but are seen through our actions and how we portray ourselves amongst others. This is also a form of edification, edification through example rather than words. It takes a humble heart to allow unseen works to stay unseen, but it takes a servantile heart to do work in the eyes of others and to stay quiet about the work that is accomplished. Humility is an underrated trait of those who edify others. Many people are too blind to see humility being displayed by others because they are too busy seeking out their own agendas. The humble ones do not need to look for confirmation or acceptance for being humble, for the truly humble ones are rewarded by the Father. However, those who are not humble are always letting their work known so to seek acknowledgement or approval for their good deeds from their peers. This is false humility done in an incorrect manner and needs edification to be appropriate. Humility is one that is a work in us all and is number one in learning how to edify others. If one cannot be humble, how can one be taught?
Personal growth is something that requires self-effort and the Father’s effort working within us to build us as a sanctified person that is every changing in accordance to the Word and to the Father’s will.
12 So that, my beloved, as you always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much rather in my absence – work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling,
13 for it is Elohim who is working in you both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.
See, what we don’t see in our walk is the way that the Father is molding us. Now some of you may disagree with this but really think about it for a moment. Remember those times a brother or sister came to you with something that you disagree with and then later, maybe weeks, months later, you finally see what they were trying to tell you and the light bulb went off and you started to change to what your brother or sister was trying to show you? This is the same concept, but there is an exception, an exception that many of us will try to refuse and even try to say that I’m a liar. The exception is that the Father only works in obedient believers to promote change and to bring us to work for His good pleasure. This isn’t saying that this can’t happen to the disobedient because bringing the disobedient to the truth isn’t the same as promoting growth and change in the truly obedient. I can explain this through a simple question, how can a disobedient believer go out and promote the Word of the Father and His will if the disobedient believer isn’t following what he is preaching or spreading? Often in these cases, you have wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I bring this up not to break down those of you struggling out there with change, but to show you that you can change, and He is waiting for you to change. Edification is about changing to the will of the Father by following His Word so that you can be built up by the cornerstone that He has sent that is His son Yeshua the Messiah.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the set-apart ones and members of the household of Elohim,
20 having been built upon the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, יהושע Messiah Himself being chief corner-stone,
21 in whom all the building, being joined together, grows into a set-apart Dwelling Place in יהוה,
22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of Elohim in the Spirit.
Yeshua is our cornerstone and as we know full well, He is the Word. When we utilize the Word to build others up in instruction and correction, we need to do it correctly. When we do not, we misuse our Messiah to forward our own agenda. This is something one should be very weary about doing.
To pull everything together so far, we have edification in the body of Messiah bringing teaching and instruction. These people that bring edification are vessels used to bring encouragement that the fulfillment of obedience to the Word is a very possible objective and it leads to ultimate freedom. We also know that for edification to be fruitful, one needs to be humble, disciplined and self-sacrificing. If edification is going to do its job in those who need it, the people being edified need to be willing to change, open to different perspectives and most importantly, have a Father first attitude. We will pick up on this next week as we move into understanding how edification can move mountains. Any questions?